Melodious Notes will be carried over the harbor again this spring for the 11th annual concert held March 25, at 7.30 p.m. at the San Juan Community Theatre.
“Most chamber music concerts play maybe three long pieces, but [Melodious Notes] are more eclectic. They are designed to take smaller samples of music, giving the audience the chance to sample a few of the great composers,” Sue Collado, the group’s clarinet player and director, said. “Many come to the concert because they want to, not because they know the composers.”
Melodious Notes has been holding annual spring concerts, and occasional summer ones, at the theater for 11 years. After moving to the island in 2010, Collado took six months to settle in before becoming involved in the community. Sue and her pianist husband, Jim Collado, played in the theater’s rendition of “Charlie Brown.” By 2012 Sue had met enough fellow musicians to form Melodious Notes. Besides Sue, group members include Kimberley Breilein on flute, Hanneke Klein-Robbenhaar on violin and viola, Pat Nelson on bassoon, Elizabeth Schaltenbrand and Kay Zavislak on piano, and Sasha von Dassow on cello.
Passion for music, playing and exploring the world of music has kept the group together for what is now over a decade. “Musically we just click,” Sue said. “Its been a fun experience putting these concerts together.”
Each member helps to select the pieces they decide to play. This year’s sections include primarily upbeat pieces, like the Piano Trio in G Major by Franz Joseph Haydn. That piece, which includes the Rondo, was inspired by melodies he heard from a patron in Vienna, and peasants dancing.
Brahms’ Trio in A Minor is the most dramatic piece of the evening. It was also one of the last pieces Brahms wrote and has become one of his more well-known compositions.
Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major played by Zavislak is also heavy.
“She always plays such formidable pieces so beautifully,” Sue said.
The woodwinds will kick the evening off with Fragments by Muczynski. These are a series of short minimalistic tunes. Later comes Walter Piston’s Three Pieces, which is a little more edgy and technical.
There are a couple of solos, von Dassow on cello and Zavislak on piano.
Zavislak and Schaltenbrand will also be playing Rapsody in Blue as a piano four hands, meaning two pianists playing on one piano.
Because a few of the players live off-island, ferries have become more of a challenge.
“Trying to rehearse was a challenge this year,” Sue said telling the story of attempting to catch the red-eye boat to Anacortes because the 8 a.m. was canceled. Getting home was not any easier, she said, but at least she didn’t have to get up early.
There were also work schedules to consider.
“These are all high-quality musicians that perform at professional levels but still have day jobs,” Sue explained. “That takes a lot of skill to be able to continue practicing and maintain the techniques.”
Guest musician Al Torres joins Melodious Notes this year. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, played 24 years with the US Army Band in Washington DC, and now lives on San Juan Island where he currently commutes to Lopez where he is a Spanish teacher. Torres also plays the euphonium, also known as the tenor tuba. The instrument is often used in military bands. The name stems from the Greek word euphonos, meaning pleasant sounding or sweet-voiced.
Torres will be joined by Schaltenbrand playing Jean-Baptiste Arban’s Carnival in Venice, a piece originally written for the Bb cornet. This particular arraignment, according to Sue, is fast-pasted with lots of embellishments.
“All of the selected music range from the 1700s to 2010, and represent diverse styles of music. Of the eight pieces, there should be something for everyone,” Sue said.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, or $5 rush at the door, and are available at the San Juan Community Theatres box office at https://www.sjctheatre.org/.